Wayland holding Women in Business banquet

April 19, 2013

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University’s ENACTUS group (formerly Students in Free Enterprise) will host its annual Women in Business banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 in room 211 of the McClung University Center.

Tickets to the event cost $20 and may be purchased by contacting Debbie Lane in the School of Business at 291-1020, or call Dr. Sam Van Hoose at 291-1029. The deadline for ticket reservations is 9 a.m. on April 29.

ENACTUS will recognize three local women who are leaders in business. This year’s honorees are Heather Leal Waller, Kay Harris and Laura Kelley.

Libby Cleveland will serve as guest speaker for the event. Cleveland is a longtime educator who currently serves as an assistant professor for the Academic Achievement Program at Wayland. Cleveland first started teaching for Wayland as an adjunct instructor following the death of her husband, Kenneth, in 1993. She became a full-time professor in 2003. Cleveland teaches intermediate and college algebra, and has taught at Wayland campuses in Alaska and Kenya.

Prior to coming to Wayland, Cleveland taught at Dimmitt High School for 33 years. She still lives in Dimmitt and is a member of First United Methodist Church. Her husband was a longtime basketball coach in Dimmitt. Cleveland recently compiled a book of letters and memories from former players, coaches and fans in memory of her late husband.
When not teaching at Wayland, Cleveland tutors math to GED students at Amarillo College in Amarillo. She said she has no plans to retire.

“I told my students at Anchorage (Alaska) that instead of doing mission work, somewhere in the Bible there is a verse that tells me to go and teach algebra to all who need it,” Cleveland said.

ENACTUS will recognize three women for their work in the community.

Heather Leal Waller is the owner of Plainview’s Leal’s restaurant. Waller is the daughter of Hector Leal, who opened Leal’s in Plainview in 1993. He also owned and operated businesses in Clovis and Muleshoe. Leal’s is celebrating its 20th year in Plainview, having opened in April of 1993.

Waller grew up around the family business and worked her way through high school waiting tables in Clovis.

“I can remember sleeping on corn sacks while my parents made tortillas late at night,” she said. “That was a way of life for us and it was very normal.”

Waller graduated from Clovis High School in 1992 and eventually moved to Plainview in 1996. She sold real estate for a few years while taking business classes at Wayland. Waller said her goal was not to attain a college degree, but to take practical courses that she knew she needed in order to operate her own business.

“Our whole family is business minded,” Waller said. “I knew I was an entrepreneur and would own and operate my own business one day.”

In 1999, Waller took over the family business, purchasing the Plainview restaurant. Leal’s remains a family operation as she takes care of the bookkeeping and accounting side of the business and her husband, Jeremy, works out front. Waller said the family teamwork is what makes the business a success.

“I do most of the behind the scenes work; the accounting the bookwork and more of the office side of running the business,” Waller said. “Jeremy does more of the customer relations and putting out fires on a day-to-day basis. As a team, it has really lessened the load on each other.”

She also said having a quality staff to work with is a blessing. Leal’s employees 40 people, some of whom have been with the business since it opened 20 years ago.
Waller still enjoys the business she fell in love with while working with her parents as a child, and is thrilled to have an established presence in Plainview.

“When dad approached me with the opportunity to purchase the location in 1999, I was very excited about it,” Waller said. “I love people and I just enjoy being a part of Plainview and being able to serve others and serve them with a quality plate of food.”

Laura Kelley had always wanted to own her own business, although it took her some time to achieve that goal.

Kelley is the owner of Cowgirl Cottage, which she opened in January, 2008 “as a small place for women to gather and learn how to bead jewelry.” Prior to that, she spent 10 years teaching in Idalou and Abernathy. She received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Nazarene University, but also had taken some fashion merchandizing classes while in college.

“It was just a dream I had to open my own little boutique,” Kelley said, adding that she is pretty much self-taught as a businesswoman.

In 2010, she expanded the original business by purchasing the local Merle Norman franchise. Additionally, the business added women’s clothing and accessories. Currently Cowgirl Cottage carries junior, young contemporary and plus-size clothing with missy items planned for the fall. Some of the lines the business carries are NYDJ, French Dressing, Jag, Cover Charge and Yellow Box.

Cowgirl Cottage celebrated its fifth anniversary and patrons may follow the business on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Kelley and her husband, Matt, have lived in Plainview for six years with their two children, 16-year-old Hannah and 13-year-old Seth. The couple is involved in local organizations and attends Harvest Christian Church.

Kelley said she is honored to be recognized as a successful hometown businesswoman.
“You want to bring new places and opportunities to the people in the community,” she said.

Kay Harris is the executive director of the Crisis Center of the Plains and as such, serves as the supervisor for Broadway Treasures, a thrift store that serves the clients of the crisis center.  The store is a non-profit business that began as a fundraiser for the crisis center. The community donated items for the women and children the center serves and they needed a place to distribute those items.

In 2000, the board of directors purchased a building on Broadway Street in downtown Plainview and the store opened on April 15 of that year. According to Harris, the motto of Broadway Treasures is “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,’ and the mission of the store is “to serve the community with needed items with affordable prices in a dignified manner.”

Harris explained that the proceeds from the sale of items are used to help the victims of domestic abuse.

“Although Broadway Treasures is a non-profit business, it allows victims to begin a new life with household items and clothing for the family,” she said.

Harris said that when the store opened, the Wayland Baptist University School of Business wrote a business plan and assisted operators in laying out merchandise.
“We coordinate with groups in the community to maintain the store along with the probation department providing manpower,” she said.

Harris is a graduate of Kress High School, and has undergone training with the Texas Council on Family Violence and Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. She has participated in a variety of leadership seminars, including marketing seminars through Wayland.

She serves on the Plainview Downtown Association Board as the vice chairperson, is the secretary for the Main Street Program, is involved with Crime Stoppers and is a member of First Baptist Church, Plainview.